(Not sure this has anything to do with writing. It's more...philosophical. More like a journal entry.)
On Wednesday, I admitted to someone that I was afraid to drive. (I'm 19 and still do not have my license. Long story. I don't enjoy driving.) They were surprised, surprised that I was afraid of anything.
I was stunned. To think of me, not afraid of anything, is like thinking of a polar bear living in Africa...or something. I never thought of myself as someone who came across as being unafraid. In fact, I've always been sure that everyone can tell that I'm horribly unsure of myself, cautious, and distrustful. But apparently I come across unafraid, even a bit like I might like living on the edge.
And I do like living on the edge. Or, rather, I like thinking that I like living in on the edge. Or reading/watching movies about people that live on the edge. Or writing stories about them.
But I'm still here, trying to figure out where this person got this impression. I'm quiet, I don't really talk much in a big social group. I'm not the one who stays out late. I'm not the one wearing mismatched clothes or retro glasses or bright pink shoes. I'm just...me. T-shirt. Jeans. Flip-flops. Quiet.
Is it because I dance like no one's watching during worship? Is it because I never get nervous in front of large groups of people, whether I'm acting, singing, or speaking? Is it because I don't go to college - and my faux "don't give a d***" attitude has worked? Is it because I'm so good at said faux attitude when it comes to my lack of license, college education, and traditional dreams? (This may really be it: I've gotten so good at pretending that I don't care what anyone thinks about what I do...that people believe it.)
How has my quiet, cautious, demure demeanor translated to someone thinking I live on the edge?
Because I'm scared of practically everything. I'm scared of driving, talking to strangers on the phone, scorpions, red/black wasps, roosters, talking to strangers on the street, saying something stupid, not being accepted, not living up to everyone's expectations, or, worse, living up to everyone's expectations. Now, I've done most of those things. I've driven, talked to strangers, gotten stung by both scorpions and wasps, gotten attacked by roosters, said many stupid things, been out of the clique, and I've done a very good job at not living up to other people's expectations.
Yet I look like I live on the edge. It's amazing, really. How I am, or the persona that I try to be, is apparently very far from how I'm perceived. Which makes me wonder why I spend so much time worrying about what people think of me. It obviously didn't work. Who they thought I am was actually the person I never thought I could be.
So, how do you think you're perceived? Has someone ever told you actually what they thought of you? How did that change you?
I'm both encouraged and disappointed. That someone else sees me as someone who lives on the edge is encouraging to me - it's like they see me as I could be if I didn't shoulder this burden of fear (that I really don't have to carry anyway). It's also a bit disappointing, because now she knows the truth... I'm not as bad*** as she thought. :/